The amazing little GoPro HDHero cameras can record full 1080p HD video, as well as timelapse and single shots. Theyâ€™re tiny and easy to rig anywhere, as in the setup below where we used them on a corporate shoot, mounting six on laptops for a video chat, instead of the built-in iSight cameras.
But camera movement is where the GoPros shine. The HDHero comes with helmet mount, auto mount, body mount, or wrist mount, with both waterproof and non-waterproof housings. I recently bought the HDHero camera, helmet rigging, suction cup for autos, tiny clip-on LCD monitor, extra batteries and clip-on battery pack.
In Timelapse mode on the GoPros, you can only control the interval between shots (2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds). Everything else is automaticâ€”shutter, aperture, video gains, etc. The cameras have a fixed, wide-angle lens. No zoom.
Shooting timelapse results in folders with thousands of jpegs. A new folder is created each time you start shooting a timelapse sequence. But when you render your image sequences later (I used Quicktime 7 Proâ€™s File â€”> Open Image Sequence command), you can control the frame-per-second rate, creating different length clips of the same event, with different speeds of movement. The moving GoPros clips in â€œTraffic Studyâ€ were all rendered at 30 fps, and also at either 10 or 12 fps. Sometimes I used the slower speeds in the final edit, sometimes the faster ones.
The blurriness which adds so much energy and motion to these timelapse sequences resulted from the GoProâ€™s shutter staying open long enough to smear the motion, for one or more of these reasons:
- The camera itself moved past fixed objects very quickly
- Objects on screen moved very quickly
- There was not much light, the aperture was wide open, and the shutter dragged (stayed open a long time) to provide an adequate exposure
We shot most of the static-camera sequences with my Canon 5D and the Canonâ€™s TC-80N3 Timer/Remote Control, variously adjusting the interval between frames from 1/2 to 2 seconds, and varying the shutter-open time from Â¼ second to one full second. These clips were rendered at 10 and 30 fps.
Some of the colors and effects are amazing. Editing in iMovie definitely added some down-resing and compression artifacts, but you canâ€™t beat the ease of use (and cheapness of the software!).
Cinematography: Bill Zarchy, Mush Emmons
Editing: Bill Zarchy
Cameras: Canon 5D Mark II, GoPro HDHero
Edited in iMovie
Music: Villa-Lobos, Prelude #1
Shot in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, in August 2011